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In an effort to reduce preventable car accidents due to driving while distracted, a national month-long campaign has been launched. April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month and police departments across California will be actively ticketing those caught texting or operating cell phones while behind the wheel.

Across most California cities drivers will be ticketed right away without being issued a warning, even if it is their first offense. The month-long campaign aims at reducing the danger that goes behind distracted driving.

Currently, the minimum citation is $159 for a first offender; subsequent tickets will cost at least $279.

Last year in California more than 57,000 tickets were issued statewide for texting and hand-held cell phone use. Year 2012 ended with nearly 450,000 convictions.

Authorities constantly remind the public that distracted driving is a serious traffic safety concern that puts others on the road at risk. It is simply not worth driving distracted, getting a ticket, or crashing. Reports show that in recent years, hundreds of people have been killed and thousands of people have been seriously injured in California as a result of collisions that involved at least one driver who was distracted on a cell phone.

At least 225 local California law enforcement agencies, along with the California Highway Patrol, will conduct zero tolerance enforcements this month.

Nationwide approximately 3,331 were killed in 2011. To prevent further deaths and injuries, police departments across California will increase to crack down on those who try to operate a cellphone and a vehicle at the same time.

“We all know that talking on our cell phones while driving is distracting, but that doesn’t stop some people from continuing to do it,” Foster City Police Department Chief Matt Martell told reporters.

“This effort is intended to educate our community about the dangers of cell phone use while driving. We hope that once people see the statistics and realize the danger involved, they will change their driving habits to help protect themselves, their families, and others on the road,” Martell stated.

Those who use hand-held devices while operating a vehicle are at least four times as likely to get into wreck that can cause injuries. Younger inexperienced drivers under 20-year-old have the highest proportion of distracted-related fatal crashes. Additionally, texting while driving can delay a driver’s reaction time just as severely as having a blood alcohol content of a legally drunk driver, per various studies on the subject.

Turn off your phone while driving and keep it that way until you’ve reached your destination and are no longer operating a vehicle.

If you were injured by a distracted driver, contact a California car accident lawyer today!

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